Many people are also concerned about overly processed food items. They prefer to eat fresh foods that have not undergone much preparation or processing. Pre-packaged foods containing preservatives, additives, colors, and other chemicals may be considered unhealthy because they don't have any nutritional value, distort the perception of taste, and cause undesirable side effects.
The following are some unhealthy foods:
#1 - Sugar
Many processed foods contain sugar, which is a leading cause of obesity in the United States today. However, even healthy fruits such as apples and pears have high amounts of sugar consumed in moderation. For example, an apple with the skin on it contains about 15 grams of sugar. Therefore, you may want to consider eating the fruit instead of drinking it if you don't want to consume as much sugar. In addition, diet sodas are also loaded with artificial sweeteners like saccharin and sucrose, which should be avoided because they cause cancer in rats.
#2 - Red (and Processed) Meat
Beef is the number one source of saturated fats and cholesterol, which means it raises the level of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. In a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that red meat increases death rates from heart disease more than white meat or fish. It has also been reported that red meat consumption is directly linked to prostate cancer. Another study even found that the risk of colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancers increases by 10 percent for each daily serving of processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages.
#3 - Fast Food
Fast food may seem like a convenient way to get a light meal, but you have to understand that convenience comes at a price. The food is prepared and quickly served because it contains large amounts of salt, fat, sugar, and preservatives, all harmful to health. In fact, they can cause obesity which is why many people who eat foods from fast food restaurants are obese. Even foods that don't taste salty may be loaded with hidden salt, increasing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
Handling Fast Food:
Consider eating at home for more nutritious meals. If you get fast food, look at the menu ingredients and figure out what unhealthy items to avoid. As the saying goes, "you are what you eat," so if your diet consists of fast food, then you will be unhealthy.
Healthy Food Choices:
The following are some healthy foods that should incorporate into a healthy diet and lifestyle:
Fruits - citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), berries (strawberries, raspberries), apples, mangoes;
Vegetables - Spinach, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower (broccoflower);
Legumes/Beans - green beans and peas;
Whole Grains - whole wheat pieces of bread and pasta (in moderation) get carbs from fruits and vegetables instead. However, the fiber in whole grains can cause bloating and gas.
Freshly Blended Smoothies - blended drinks that combine all the above ingredients; may contain nuts or seeds, ice, water, and fresh fruit. All fruits (strawberries, peaches), vegetables (carrots, celery), fats from nuts or seeds are recommended; avoid sugar as much as possible. Since the food we eat is broken down in our bodies, it's essential to pay attention to the ingredients. Not all components are created equal, and some harm your health instead of helping it. Should not consume processed foods should not be consumed too often to maintain good nutrition and avoid obesity. Cooking at home from scratch is the best choice.
Ingredients to Avoid: Added salt and sugar; most processed foods are loaded with these ingredients as preservatives to extend shelf life. - Sodium nitrite (used in cured meats like hot dogs, bacon, sausage); this ingredient is believed to cause cancer.
- Trans fats such as corn oil, palm oil (short vegetable ending), hydrogenated oil (margarine, crackers); trans fats increase the level of bad cholesterol in the blood and increase risks for heart disease.
- Sodium benzoate (a preservative found in soda drinks, fruit juices): sodium benzoate is believed to cause cancer.
Ingredients to Consume: - Olive oil or canola oil instead of shortening or corn oil; use it for sauteing foods to avoid trans fats. - Beans and fish (salmon); are considered good sources of protein, which is essential to overall health.
- Whole grain pasta or loaves of bread (whole wheat, rye, barley, oats); contains nutrients that are not present in processed or white bread.
- Flax seeds, nuts, and seeds; contain fiber which is good for digestion. - Tomatoes (canned or fresh) and other vegetables that are not cooked with salt.
- Yogurt, hard cheeses, cottage cheese, eggs: getting protein without using meat products like milk or processed meats are good.
Portion Control and Use of Condiments:
- Ask to substitute something healthier, for example, a baked potato instead of french fries. - Soups are generally good choices as there is not much-added salt or sugar in them.
- Get fruit or vegetables that are steamed without butter; dishes that come with rice or pasta may also be good choices.
Common condiments to avoid are salad dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, horseradish sauce, and other bottled sauces. They contain sugar or salt, which can cause obesity over time if used frequently in meals. Pay attention to how much you eat; use portion control as portions served in restaurants tend to be large enough for more than one person.
When eating out: - Avoid fast food whenever possible; order water or milk instead of soda drinks - Look at the menu items and avoid getting high salt, sugar, or fatty foods. - Choose salads without dressing unless you can get it on the side (avoid mayonnaise).